Clear Creek Reservoir FISH SURVEY AND MANAGEMENT DATA Greg A. Policky - Aquatic Biologist (Salida) [email protected] / 719-530-5525 General Information: Clear Creek Reservoir, a 407 acre impoundment, offers excellent fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout. The kokanee salmon fishery is rebounding from an earlier die-off and tiger muskie are reaching trophy size. To view map see page 2 or go to http://maps.google.com/maps Location: Chaffee County. Located at the mouth of Clear Creek just south of Granite, Colorado. Recreational Management: Colorado Parks and Wildlife (719-530-5520). Fishery Management: Coldwater angling for trout, kokanee salmon and tiger muskie. Detailed Fishery Information: See additional pages. Amenities and General Info. CPW State Wildlife Area Boat ramp (1) and dock with restroom Dispersed camping allowed in inlet area Dam, spillway, outlet downstream to Hwy 24 closed to public Previous Stocking Sportfishing Notes 2013 Trout Rainbow Trout Brown Trout Kokanee Salmon Tiger Trout Tiger Muskie 2012 Regulations Kokanee salmon snagging allowed October 1 to December 31 upstream to gauging station (1/2 mile above reservoir). The bag and possession limit for tiger muskie is 1, 36 inches or longer. Statewide bag and possession limits apply for other species (see CPW Fishery Brochure). Rainbow Trout Snakeriver Native Cutbow Trout Brown Trout Kokanee Salmon Tiger Muskie Excellent fishing for trout that average 12 inches with an occasional fish taken over 20 inches. Catchable trout (10+ inch) are stocked from April through September. Kokanee Salmon Salmon fishery rebounding. Flyfishing with small flies and egg patterns during the fall spawning run can be productive. Tiger Muskie WARNING!!! Prevent the Spread of Zebra Mussels and other Aquatic Nuisance Species • Clean, drain, and dry your boat after each use. • Clear Creek Reservoir requires mandatory inspections before launching. Introduced to prey on an abundant sucker population. Two size classes present, those under 30 inches and individuals exceeding 40 inches have been reported. Clear Creek Reservoir 2013 LAKE SURVEY DATA Greg A. Policky - Aquatic Biologist Salida Service Center 2013 Gillnetting Survey Species #Caught Average Length and (Range) in Inches Average Weight (lbs.) Kokanee Salmon 2 12.5 (12.4-12.6) 0.37 Brown Trout 8 11.4 (4.8-20.0) 0.80 129 11.7 (7.1-21.0) 0.50 Snakeriver Native 5 11.5 (11.0-12.7) 0.39 Tiger Muskie 6 23.8 (9.6-39.0) 7.42 White Sucker 302 10.0 (4.0-15.4) 0.62 Rainbow Trout Clear Creek Reservoir 2013 LAKE SURVEY DATA Greg A. Policky - Aquatic Biologist Salida Service Center Percent Relative Abundance KOKANEE BROWN SALMON <1% TROUT 2% TIGER MUSKIE SNAKERIVER 1% NATIVE 1% RAINBOW TROUT 29% WHITE SUCKER 67% Length Frequency Distribution 60 50 Number 40 30 RAINBOW TROUT WHITE SUCKER TIGER MUSKIE SNAKERIVER NATIVE KOKANEE SALMON BROWN TROUT 20 10 0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 Length (inch) 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 Clear Creek Reservoir 2014 FISHING FORECAST Greg A. Policky - Aquatic Biologist Salida Service Center Clear Creek Reservoir is traditionally one of the most productive and dependable fishing reservoirs in the upper Arkansas River basin. Catch rates consistently exceed one fish/angler-hour and the majority of anglers rate the quality of their fishing experience as good to excellent. It produces excellent fishing for stocked (10 inch) trout with an occasional large trout taken over 20 inches. The kokanee salmon fishery is rebounding to historic levels and fishing should be good for this species in 2014. Kokanee snagging is allowed in the reservoir and upstream about 0.5 miles to the gauging station from October 31 to December 31. Flycasters are learning that kokanee salmon can be caught with small flies and egg patterns during the fall spawning run from October to December. Tiger muskie, a sterile cross between a northern pike and a muskie, were first introduced to this reservoir from 2004-2006 and more recently from 2012-2013. They were stocked to prey on an abundant sucker population while providing the opportunity for anglers to catch a trophy sized fish. Two size groups are present, those under 30 inches from recent plants and individuals exceeding 40 inches from the original plants (see photo). The limit for tiger muskie is one fish, 36 inches or longer. The lake is serviced by one concrete boat ramp and a boat dock was installed in 2012. A watercraft inspection program was initiated at this reservoir in 2009 and continues today. For a 2014 inspection schedule go to http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/MandatoryBoatInspections.htm Clear Creek Reservoir MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS Greg A. Policky - Aquatic Biologist Salida Service Center Clear Creek Reservoir fluctuates moderately but is quite productive due to its basin configuration and prevalence of shallow water. The sportfish community has changed little since 1989. Rainbow and cutthroat trout gill net catch can be quite inconsistent, largely dependent on recent catchable stocking. Fingerling brown trout and kokanee salmon are stocked and their gill net catch depends on their ability to survive and grow in this habitat. Brown trout recruitment has been fair while kokanee salmon abundance, at least anecdotally, appears to be improving. A moderate kokanee salmon spawning run was observed in 2013. Gill lice (Salminicola sp.), a parasitic copepod, is believed to be primarily responsible for a kokanee salmon die-off at Clear Creek Reservoir in 2006 and thereafter. Other stress factors (e.g. warm water, low dissolved oxygen, poor nutrition, and other pathogens) may have combined to weaken the host, contributing to the die-off. Trout and kokanee in Clear Creek Reservoir have been positive for gill lice for some time. Higher infestation rates in kokanee salmon may be explained by their schooling habits, which make it easier for the parasite to pass from host to host. Kokanee salmon numbers remain low today despite consistent stocking since 2003. Annual water operations and drawdown (1997 and 2007) surely impact limnology and ultimately biotic production. Zooplankton, the primary food source for kokanee salmon, is particularly vulnerable to water fluctuations and flushing. Water operations that affect zooplankton density may indirectly impact kokanee density through the food chain. Tiger muskie predation on kokanee salmon is minimal due to low tiger muskie number, habitat segregation, and overall high prey availability (e.g. suckers and trout). Tiger muskie were stocked from 2004-2006 and since 2012 to prey on suckers. This veracious predator is a sterile cross between northern pike and musky. Their numbers can be closely controlled through stocking with no threat of natural reproduction. They have worked well to control suckers in other coldwater Colorado reservoirs of similar size and productivity. A sucker standing crop of 20-30% of the fish community is desired so there is not undue tiger muskie predation on trout and salmon. The goal is to sustain a low density population of trophy-sized tiger muskie to reduce sucker biomass while improving survival and growth of sportfish species. Initial plants survived well in this productive habitat and effectively reduced sucker numbers soon after stocking. Few young suckers were collected in 2007 and 2009, empirical evidence of tiger muskie predation but many were collected in 2011 and 2013 suggesting predation pressure by tiger muskie has subsided. They were not available for stocking from 2007-2011 and only a handful of fish were collected in nets in 2011 and 2013. Sucker numbers have steadily risen in recent years. Annual tiger muskie stocking resumed in 2012 and with consistent stocking they should effectively control suckers in future years. Seven inch fish should be stocked at 10/acre until sucker biomass reaches 20 -30% of the fish community. The tiger muskie stocking rate should be reduced to approximately 5/acre once proper fish population balance is attained and community balance monitored thereafter. Because they are a sterile hybrid, light stocking is needed to maintain their presence.
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